Gretsch, Cnossen Sweep Titles At Sit Ski Nationals
by Alex Abrams
Dan Cnossen competes at Sit Ski Nationals.
Kendall Gretsch continued her promising start to the new Para Nordic skiing season while racing on a familiar course this past weekend.
Gretsch and fellow Paralympian Dan Cnossen each won both of their races at the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Sit Ski Nationals in Bozeman, Montana, where they train throughout the year as members of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing national team.
Gretsch opened the nationals on Saturday with a victory in the women’s 800-meter sprint qualifier, finishing in 2 minutes, 28.07 seconds at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center.
Lera Doederlein, who was named to this year’s U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing development team, placed second at 3:10.88. Promising newcomer Erin Martin took third at 3:22.27.
Gretsch then won the women’s 5-kilometer race on Sunday by more than four minutes, finishing in 17:26.2 to cap her weekend. Doederlein took second at 21:34.2, and Martin placed third at 22:15.4.
The nationals served as a qualifying race for the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. The event came less than a month after Gretsch, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist, won two golds and a silver at the first world cup event of the season in Canmore, Alberta.
Oksana Masters, a 10-time Paralympic medalist in Nordic skiing, cycling and rowing, was unable to compete at the nationals after she said she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Cnossen, a six-time Paralympic medalist, won the men’s 800 sprint qualifier and the 5K race in dominant fashion this past weekend. He finished the 800 in 2:10.95, ahead of U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing development teammates Bryan Price (2:30.84) and Ty Wiberg (3:09.12), respectively.
Cnossen followed it up the next day by winning the 5K in 15:50.8. Price again took second at 17:56.0, and Wiberg earned third at 21:52.7.
The season continues with many of the top U.S. skiers heading to Lillehammer, Norway, where they’ll compete in the World Para Snow Sports Championships starting this weekend. This marks the first time the world championships for Nordic skiing, alpine skiing and snowboarding will be held together. The event runs Jan. 8-23.
Full results from nationals can be found here.
Alex Abrams has written about Olympic and Paralympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.